For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed a decision by the American Psychological Association (APA) to ban psychologists from participating in national security interrogations and advising on their confinement conditions, and to withdraw their presence from Guantánamo and other sites operating illegally.
“Today’s decision sends a powerful message to the U.S. government that it can no longer rely on health professionals to legitimize torture,” said Widney Brown, PHR’s director of programs. “This is a critical step for ensuring psychologists live up to their profession’s fundamental principle of ‘do no harm.’”
PHR said the next step is for the APA to further strengthen its ethics policies and for the U.S. government to withdraw psychologists from interrogations and from Guantánamo. The U.S government must also end all use of torture and investigate everyone responsible for its use.
The decision came during the APA’s annual meeting in Toronto.
Last month, a 542-page independent report by former federal prosecutor David Hoffman confirmed that the APA colluded with the U.S. Department of Defense, the CIA, and other government officials to support the use of torture. PHR has issued a preliminary analysis of the report, highlighting several types of improper conduct by the APA and its officials. PHR also said that the U.S. Department of Justice should appoint a special prosecutor and conduct a full criminal investigation into health professionals’ role in torture.
Since 2005, PHR has documented the systematic use of torture and repeatedly called for an end to the use of ill-treatment and torture, a federal investigation into the role of health professionals, and full accountability for all those involved.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.